Scrambling through piles of clothes at a vintage fair or in a charity shop has become the 'in' thing to do over the last year or so. Many fashionable souls have been doing the second hand rounds for quiet some time, but as the economic climate remains stuck in a downward spiral, commercially there is nothing more fashionable than hunting for thrift finds.
But where do you start? As a charity shop and vintage fair virgin, the prospect of hunting through old clothes may seem daunting; what do you look for? When do you do it? How do you do it? Here is my how to guide on how I hunt the old...
Get There Early:
When going to an organised vintage fair the key rule is to get there early. You know how us Brits love to queue, but these are queues worth waiting in line for. You'll not only get the pick of the best items at the stalls, but you will give yourself plenty of time to visit the city's independent boutiques and charity shops if you have travelled from your own town.
Go On A Tuesday:
All charity shop hunters know that a Tuesday is the best day to find amazing items, whether it be at Oxfam, Barnardos or Dove House. Weekends are full of picked over items and many people choose either a weekend or the fresh start to the week of a Monday to drop their unwanted clothes and accessories. So be sure to pop to your local charity shop on your lunch break to snap up some vintage bargains!
Be Open Minded:
Vintage is an equired taste (in my opinion) and it takes a creative mind and a bit of an imagination to see past the old and into the uniqueness of the clothes. Look for luxurious materials and unique patterns and then be inspired by current fashion to update your find. You could snip out the shoulder pads on a retro jumpsuit, or take up the length of an a-line skirt. For the braver bunch, sew on your own detailing for an even more unique look.
Always, always, always check your labels! You don't want to be fobbed off with a Primark dress thinking its vintage nor do you want to be lumbered with an unwashable cashmere jumper; think ethically, economically and elaborately - the 3 E's. A thrift find isn't a success if it is unwearable.
Forget Your Size:
Another known fact in the charity and vintage hoarders world is that a size 14 doesn't exist (yeey!) That's right, your problematic inbetweeny "my bums a 12 but my legs are an 8" goes out the window as sizes from decades ago are completely different to how they are sized now. So be open minded and always remember items can be adjusted easily, some vintage stalls will even offer this service so be sure to enquire.
Know Your Charity:
Most charities have now cottoned on to the whole need for vintage within the fashion industry and have their own way of promoting this. Barnardos has a seperate vintage section in each of their charity shops which has been pre-selected and sought after just for you. Oxfam has its own website dedicated to vintage items and promoting "fashion loved for longer" which is well worth a look.
Not only is it more ethical to shop second hand, but you can pick up some great pieces which are one of a kind and unique to you. Not only will you save yourself money, but you will be donating to chariry too and you can't get satisfaction like that from the highstreet - happy shopping!
(Image 1 from www.bellefantaisie.net
Image 2 from www.photobucket.com
Image 3 from www.oxfam.org.uk)